New Zealand parents worried about what their children watch online will soon be able to have peace of mind.
NZ On Air has partnered with TVNZ to deliver an engaging, locally curated online home for children’s video and interactive content, and it’s due to come online around March next year.
In an announcement on Friday, NZ On Air said the project, which was yet to be named, would provide a safe, ad-free environment for children aged around five to nine years old to explore and interact with local screen content.
Children would be involved in developing the website.
NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson said the project, which has been given $1.5million in its start-up year, was the result of significant research, planning and consultation over the past two years.
“This initiative will ensure our children can easily find multi-media content they can relate to, reflecting them and their environment, in their own accent,” Wrightson said.
“This is a timely and crucial intervention for children’s media in New Zealand and part of a fundamental change to the way we do things at NZ On Air.”
A NZ On Air and Broadcasting Standard Authority study in late 2014 revealed parents had a relatively higher level of concern about online content despite more children being exposed to challenging content on television.
The study, Children’s Media Use Study 2015, showed that 73 per cent of the children surveyed used the internet by themselves while 27 per cent watched television by themselves.
“So parents have less visibility of what their children are exposed to online,” the study assessed.
The study revealed that more parents would prefer their children to watch animal shows, sport, documentaries, or shows about real NZ children and families than cartoons.
Just one in three parents had software on devices to prevent access to certain sites.
The study surveyed more than 700 children aged six to 14 and their parents about the media consumption behaviour of children.
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said there was currently no online outlet to showcase compelling local video and interactive content for kiwi kids.
The website content curation will be overseen by an advisory panel that includes external experts.